The long-anticipated debut of wide receiver Jon Baldwin will happen eventually, but impatient Chiefs fans will have to wait at least another week to glimpse him decked out in red for a meaningful game. Selected 26th overall in April, Baldwin was expected to complement Dwayne Bowe, who was coming off a breakout Pro Bowl year, and bolster a passing game desperate to add weapons for quarterback Matt Cassel.
Instead, Baldwin has been a nonfactor after breaking his thumb during a preseason scuffle with teammate Thomas Jones, but there is genuine excitement about what Baldwin will bring to the field when he finally does play, which is likely to be Oct. 23 in a key AFC West game at Oakland. “I believe he’s going to do great things, and I believe he will add another dynamic to the offense that will only help,” said fellow wide receiver Keary Colbert, who is in his first season with the Chiefs. Baldwin, a hulking 6-foot-4, 230-pound playmaker from Pittsburgh, participated fully in practice last week for the first time, but he was inactive for Sunday’s comeback win against the Colts.
“He was available, but it’s one of those things where he hasn’t been out in the action a bunch,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said, explaining the decision to delay Baldwin’s NFL debut until after the bye week. “He was real close (to being active against the Colts). He did enough things in practice that we were all excited and thought he could potentially help us, but, again, you’ve got to take into account special teams. We’ve got to do what’s best for the team right now.” Apparently, the coaching staff wasn’t sold that Baldwin would be an asset on special teams.